There are many jobs at nursing homes that even desperate unemployed Americans won’t consider because they are seen as too demanding. A solution to this employment problem could be as simple as immigration reform, one of President Obama’s highest priorities.
A new visa, called the W-Visa, would cover low-skilled workers employed by a variety of non-seasonal industries, including long-term care. Beginning in 2015, the program would admit 20,000 workers, and then it will progressively go up in subsequent years with a cap of 200,000. The yearly allotment of available visas would vacillate based on factors such as the national unemployment rate. The W-Visa beneficiaries would be paid the same wages as American workers or industry-standard wages, and would be able to apply for permanent residency and citizenship.
The American Health Care Association urged lawmakers to allow nursing homes to employ more immigrant workers in order for nursing home operators to fill vacancies and to save money. Fred Benjamin, chairman of the Kansas Health Care Association and COO of Medicalodges Inc., addressed a Congressional panel about this issue.
“We’ve offered signing bonuses, set up tables in grocery stores, sent direct mail, posted job openings on the Web, even laundromats, and it’s still not enough to fill positions,” he said. “It’s tough work taking care of people…but we believe there are a lot of people from other countries who would gladly take these jobs.” said Fred Benjamin.